Everybody likes monkeys. They're evil, smelly and generally repugnant beasts, but still lots of fun to watch. Why? Because monkeys represent the primal urges that we, as civilized adults, cannot act upon. But what if we could? The result would probably be something close, but not quite, to the polar opposite of the Community Arts Ensemble's Imagine.
Imagine, unlike our simian brethren, is a celebration of what Dr. Seuss might have called the Frumplenadooley, which is the subconscious striving for answers to unanswerable questions (like, how do they cram in all that graham into Golden Grahams?). It's also about the childlike wonder we can reclaim by allowing the voices in our head to stretch their legs and revel in the power and beauty of imagination. Original music and choreography will help open the cage of dourness, freeing the elusive chimp of the psyche to run unfettered throughout the fields of the mind. Strap on a loincloth, grab a banana and swing on by.
Editor's note: The lunatic rantings above are the Planet's attempt to prove the imagination is indeed alive and well and residing in the twisted mind of Weekly Planet's Chief Executive Monkey, Patrick Graney. We failed. Now that Patrick's completely strayed from the subject, allow someone with a firmer grasp on reality to continue.
Imagine (thank you, Patrick, for at least getting the name right) is the much-rescheduled brainchild of Fred Johnson. As the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's vice president of education and humanities, Johnson's not only built a career around bringing theater to the community, but bringing the community to theater. Under Johnson's tutelage, old, young, novice and seasoned performers, collectively known as the Community Arts Ensemble, see Imagine through from beginning to end, from production to performance. Locals can see the finished product, an entertaining show of original music and dance, at a free 7 p.m. performance on Tuesday, May 15, in the Shimberg Playhouse. Monkeys, however, must stay home.
TBPAC's at 1010 N. MacInnes Place, Tampa. Call 813-229-STAR.
—Kelli K and Patrick Graney